26 July, 2006

Did Not!! Did Too!!; Dem Debate Disintigrates Into Schoolyard Tussle

The exchanges were pretty salty at times, but the debate last nigth between Tom Suozzi and Eliot Spitzer last night was reasonably civil.

Until the aftermath.

Suozzi accused Spitzer of what amounts to a pre-debate temper tantrum over Suozzi's attempt to bring a notebook to the podium with him - apparently a violation of the "no props" rule.

Spitzer's camp claims it was hardly an angry exchange, but rather a simple request by Spitzer for the debate hosts to enforce the rules.

There was even some mention of the behind-the-scenes encounter in news reports about the debate. But it hardly seemed important.

Until today.

Suozzi's campaign put out a press release today, which was presented as an open letter to Spitzer.

"Dear Eliot,

I am glad that you decided not to storm out of our debate last night. It is important for us to discuss our real differences and for voters to see that they actually have a real choice in this election. And as anyone watching last night could see- I didn’t need any notes to beat you."

The letter goes on to chide Spitzer about what is presented as his inconsistency on capital punishment and for using a "Rose Garden" strategy of refusing to engage Suozzi on the issues.

After reading this open letter in my e-mail, I clicked on the Spitzer Web site to see if there was a response. Instead, I found a straight-forward, if completely one-sided (as you would expect) review of the debate. That is, until I got to the last paragraph.

When he didn't deliver the "knock-out punch" he needed to during the debate, Mr. Suozzi instead tried to quickly change the subject by letting people know that he had attempted to break the simple rules of the debate by bringing notes with him out on the stage. Candidates for governor shouldn't need a briefing book to speak about the serious challenges facing the people of this state. Apparently Mr. Suozzi does.

Suozzi is apparently trying a last-gasp effort to open a new issue in the campaign - Spitzer's alleged temper, which has crept into the conversation before.

The statements from both camps, and my little graphic above, speak for themselves.


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